Have you ever been so clever
You visited the Land of Never?
“Never will I eat the foods that make me fat,
Never will I say those awful words
Like Heckedy Schmekedy drat,”
Or in a moment of practiced pique
When your bottom’s fallen in the creek:
“Never ever will I do that again,
No horse could drag me through that glen,”
Or when your friend and you
have a falling out,
A spat where you cross your arms and shout,
“That’s it, never will I be your friend!
Never! Never! Never! The End!” . . .
it’s not the end,
now is it?
You’ll eat the pie despite the pounds and zits,
You’ll say some awful things
Because they have a righteous ring,
You’ll take that trip to somewhere far away,
Smiling as you wipe off spray,
You’ll call your friends
And make amends,
You’ll say, “Did I say ‘Never’?
For me that’s far too clever.
Let’s take a walk
Around the block,
Pluck a dandelion on the fly,
Pick out Orion in the sky.
Whatever we may endeavor
Let’s steer clear
Of the Land of Never.”
Cool earth, hot water fevered in cauldrons’ space,
White flames, dog’s eyes, shine on my painted face,
Dim, moon; grasp, earth; roar, winds; disturb the seers,
White blazes, dogs unleashed, unlock Baal’s spears,
Flash in nights, dogs, sink fangs in enemies,
Unearth sweet corpses; spread their disease:
Let not the prophet come
Before he’s been struck dumb,
Prophet who acts like a boss,
May my spells spell his loss,
My power shall increase,
He and his God shall cease.
The day was hot and sweaty and sticky
Even the mosquitoes were too hot and tired to buzz,
and they lounged on window sills,
the flowers drooped in the heat
Where Billie lived at the top of a hill
and nobody climbed the hill to see Billie
From his picture window he saw the houses, the streets, the cars, the bicycle, the lake.
I know what I’ll do, he said.
He rolled himself into a ball
and rolled down the floor,
out the door
and down the winding street,
past the church, the fire station, the library,
the police station,
Jenny’s house, Mack’s house, the school,
and the park where Sammy and Sallie swung on swings,
up a rise, over a pothole, through Mrs. Warden’s carrot patch,
past the skateboard park,
and Muff the Mini followed him,
then Gruff and Tough,
then Goof and Woof,
then Barko and Sharko,
then Drool and Fool,
then Licker and Sticker,
Then Jumper and Rumper,
Then Muzzle and Guzzle,
Then Slurp and Dwerp,
Then Casey and Lazy,
Then Fuzzy and Scuzzy,
Then Palumbo and Columbo,
Then Fluffy and Stuffy,
and pretty soon all the dogs in town followed him
as he gained speed and barreled down the street,
then Patricia the postal worker sprang out of the way
and Mrs. Anderson dropped her garden hose
and Captain Jack called the cops
and Ed the Editor ran after them, notepad in hand
and Mr. Jackhammer lectured him
and Coach Chuck cheered him
And Jenny and Mack, and Sammy and Sallie,
and the soccer team, and the volleyball team,
and the track team, and the cross-country team,
and the cheerleaders
ran after them all,
and he barreled down the pier and landed in the water
and every dog and every child jumped in after him
and the adults looked at one another, shrugged their shoulders,
and they jumped in
and Billie splashed the coach,
and the coach splashed the pole vaulter, who splashed Miss Plushy,
who splashed the mayor, who splashed the volleyball team,
who splashed the soccer team, who splashed the skateboarders,
who splashed the librarian,
and the mayor, his suit drenched, climbed onto the pier
and declared that this day was Billie’s Day and would be honored every year
and the cheerleaders cheered and the dogs barked
and shook the water off their fur
And everybody got even wetter
and they laughed and laughed.
(And Billie drowned and nobody ever found his body.)
My Enemy My enemy is not the black or Jew, The next-door neighbor or the former spouse, The terrorist, the atheist, or you. The enemy is in the bone-cage house. No matter whether I sleep or wake, he beats Like mad to push my blood to other parts. Impostor! Promising me life, he cheats Me out of it, my enemy, my heart.
He is the field where Sin takes root and grows
Until the face of God is blotted out; Then Tyrant Sin commits a felony And pays his wage, the wage of death, he owes. Deceitful heart, let Jesus in, so Doubt And Sin will drown in blood He shed for me.